The Portland Timbers' coaching search may have finally honed in on a potential target.
According to a report by ESPN's Taylor Twellman, the club has tabbed former MLS star forward Giovanni Savarese as their new manager to take over for Caleb Porter, who parted ways with the club on November 17 after five seasons at the helm.
Steven Goff of The Washington Post announced on Wednesday that Savarese's departure from the New York Cosmos had been made official:
New York Cosmos announce departure of Giovanni Savarese, clearing way for him to become Portland Timbers head coach— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) December 13, 2017
Savarese, a former Venezuelan international with 51 career MLS regular season goals, has led the NASL's New York Cosmos since the 2013 season, leading the second-division side to the Soccer Bowl championship in four of his five seasons, claiming the title in three of them (2013, 2015, 2016).
In a conference call with reporters on November 29, Timbers GM Gavin Wilkinson indicated that the club was in the process of identifying "the best available coaches in this country, and that includes the divisions below MLS."
Among the list of attributes for their ideal candidate, Wilkinson also indicated the club were seeking "a progressive coach, we prefer a coach that's bilingual, we prefer a coach that's managed in different countries." While Savarese has not coached overseas, he has played in Venezuela, Italy and England in addition to MLS.
Should Savarese take over the Timbers' reins, he would inherit a roster that could be in store for a major offseason change as the club is has officially traded away US national team midfielder Darlington Nagbe on Wednesday.
The Timbers finished at the top of the Western Conference in 2017, while also winning the 2017 Cascadia Cup. They were beset by injuries and eventually knocked out in a Western Conference Semifinal series against the Houston Dynamo after losing 2-1 in the second leg at Providence Park.